Kentucky nursing homes cut off visitation amid coronavirus fears
As concerns rise about the coronavirus, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear issued an executive order restricting visitation at state-run nursing homes and other long-term healthcare facilities. He is strongly encouraging private nursing homes to follow.
"As we have seen in Seattle, where this virus truly causes massive harm is in facilities with our seniors, especially fragile seniors," Beshear said. "And I understand that there are Kentuckians out there who worry they might not be able to see their loved ones. I get that. But right now we are making sure we are protecting the life, health and safety of individuals in those facilities."
The order restricts visitors to only patients who are in end-of-life care.
"As the governor said, this is a very difficult decision for us to make, but it is the right decision to make," said Eric Friedlander, acting secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. "This is one that protects those people in our long-term care facilities. It is important that we do this."
Eight people in Kentucky have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The most vulnerable are the elderly, especially if they have a chronic health issue.
The executive order advises nursing facilities screen staff for symptoms as well.
Several nursing homes issued those polices as of Tuesday afternoon.
"In addition to restricting visits by non-essential persons, we are continuously monitoring the CDC and other government/regulatory organizations for further guidance," said officials with Oakmont Manor in Russell, Ky.. "We are screening all employees upon their arrival to the facility, monitoring all residents for any potential symptoms, and we have reinforced our cleaning/sanitizing procedures. We have also implemented a screening process for all potential new admissions to the facility. The safety of our residents and our community as a whole is our top priority at this time. For updates, please refer to our Facebook page."
Boyd Nursing and Rehabilitation has taken the following temporary precautionary measures to protect patients and staff
- Restrict all non-essential personnel visits.
- Limiting entry to only individuals who need entry, such as:
- Care Team Members, contractors and consultants who are needed to keep the operations running and assure the residents' needs are met.
- Actively screening individuals entering the community and restrict entry to those with respiratory symptoms or possible exposure to COVID-19.
Kingsbrook Lifecare Center, which is operated by King's Daughters Medical Center, also issued new restrictions. A spokesperson said they are working on helping patients have contact with family members via phone or FaceTime until the restrictions have been lifted.